In the spirit of old time
computer experience sharing, Iíd like to share some things that now help
me enjoy my computer more while burning a music CD. My hope is others will
share their successes and failures so that all Alamo PC folks, and all
computer users will benefit from the free flow of knowledge.
Set up your system
Unless your burner software specifically advises you to leave
it on (like Easy CD Creator v4), deactivate Auto Insert Notification in
Control Panel- Device Manager-your CD-R/RW. Reboot for the change to take
Defragment the partition
Defragment the partition on your hard drive with the Windows
temporary (swap) file and the burner softwareís temporary work area for
image and wav files.
Open your burner software.
down unneeded memory resident programs running in the background
Especially anti-virus, ďFast FindĒ if you have Microsoft Office,
and timed screen savers. Anything that can interrupt the CPU. I recently
downloaded Process Control from ZDNet. A shareware program that
lists all memory resident programs and allows me to set priority for each
or put them to sleep. It listed 32 items running in the background, Ctrl-Alt-Del
only listed 17. I can assign top priority to my burner program and put
unneeded items to sleep. It also puts the ones in red that should not be
put to sleep. I really like it and itís much better than using the three
finger salute (Control-Alternate-Delete).
Load your wav files
I make the preparation of the wav files for recording a separate
operation from the burn. Clean the original music CD of dust and finger
prints using a hub out rather than circular wipe before inserting it in
the burner. By replacing the Windows CDFS.VXD file, you can copy the music
tracks you want from a CD by opening the stereo folder (open 16 bit, 44.1
kHz) using Windows Explorer and copying the desired tracks to your temporary
work folder. Or use digital audio extraction thru your burner software
with all the inherent problems.
Now is the time to listen to your extracted music tracks. Some
CD players do a lousy job of digital audio extraction. You can use filters
to reduce noise (clicks, pops) and even the volume level for all the tracks.
Remember, every time you filter a file, you lose part of the music. If
you need to change the filter settings, maybe reloading the track first
might give you a better result. When you are happy with all the music tracks,
itís time to create an image file through your burner software.
Setup your software for the burn
Get in the habit of reviewing your settings before every burn.
Burn speed must be determined by using the software test feature and experience.
It has little to do with the burners capability, it has everything to do
with the capability of your complete rig and the quality of the finished
CD that you are satisfied with. That was a really hard lesson for me to
learn. I have a 4X burner, so naturally, thatís the target speed for all
burns. Wrong olí thick headed one! I now use 2X for a music
burn. Yes, with proper setup, 4X works most of the time. But with
2X, buffer underrun is a thing of the past and the music sounds much better.
I burned a lot of coasters and wasted a lot of time learning that. Youíll
have to make your own decision on what works best for you. Ainít it fun?
Setup for a disk-at-once burn
That will take your image file, write the table of contents
first, write the image file in one session, close the session, and then
close the disc, all in one clean burn without having to turn the laser
on and off. Weak music readers (like the one in my Honda), work better
with discs burned this way rather than gaging on 80 min track-at-once burns.
Burn the CD
Media: Thereís a lot of horror stories on the web about bad
discs. Check the date on the article. Itís probably a few years old. There
are exacting standards on discs now and the process has really improved.
Funny, cause there are hardly any standards for burners. All the colored
books deal with what you burn on the disc. My opinion is, use only discs
rated at or above your burner's max burn speed. I jump on every sale or
free offer, the cheaper the better. I have yet to find a bad disc
was the cause of a coaster. Stick to 74 minute 8X or 12X discs,
disk-at-once if you going to play it on a weak player. Itís a real workout
for the laser to stay in grooves that are 1.6 microns apart. With 80 minute
discs, the extra 6 minutes, 50 Mbs are stolen from the lead-in, lead-out
and tightening the track pitch. Unfortunately, some older readers have
a real problem with the 80 minute table of contents.
Leave the machine alone
Unless you have a new top of the line machine with a 16X or
12X burner with burn proof, once you hit the burn button, leave the machine
alone. Do not try to do other tasks on the machine. Do not cause vibrations
or bumps. Just let it do its thing. I know, they test the new high speed
rigs with a very CPU intensive program running in the background while
doing a burn. Itís a commie plot to make us feel inadequate, so weíll run
out and buy the latest and most expensive burner (which weíll have to throttle
back to work with our existing rig).
Label and Test
After the software indicates a successful burn, and usually
ejects the disc to clear its buffer, then itís time to label and test your
latest creation. I want to hear the results of my efforts before I waste
a label. So, I take the new disc to the car (my weakest and most used reader)
to make sure it can read it and I listen carefully to the music tracks.
Then, itís time to print a label and put it on the disc.
All this effort so Iím not a slave to the two radio stations that
I enjoy. One keeps playing that 40ís crap and the other has gotten so successful,
the commercials have proliferated and are getting really annoying. If only
I could get www.rondiamond.com
in my car.